He, the Complete and Total Loser's father, was a cheap bastard. But in a loveable way.
He was born September 21, 1920, ninety-two years ago from the date of this post, and died last December.
Imagine being nine years old when the Great Depression starts. Even brief downturns in the economy scar us for life. The Loser got out of college during a sharp but brief one (Reagan, '81) and is still surprised when someone offers him a job.
The last car trip the Loser's father probably made was to a supermarket three miles farther than the nearest one to save a quarter on a can of soup. He kept uncancelled postage stamps, clipped coupons and washed his own car for as long as he could, all while living in a house worth $700,000 and sitting on $1.2 million in stock.
"I could lose it all tomorrow," he'd say, and he meant it.
Not that he scrimped. He and the Loser's mother enjoyed life. They vacationed in St. Bart's, ate out often, and drove decent enough cars. It was on the little, everyday things that he scrimped. The Loser wanted his father to enjoy those little things and when, in those last months he'd do the shopping because he "liked to help out," he'd spend his own money on premium stuff. Acme? No. Whole Foods.
Over the past few years the Loser bought him a bottle of good scotch on Father's Day. His father may have found the brands he bought fine, but he didn't drink much and how good can scotch be if it comes in a plastic bottle?
He died before he finished it all. The Loser is drinking one last, fairly large glass of it (for him) now to commemorate his birthday.
Here's to you, Dad, you cheap bastard. I miss you.